I spent Saturday with the Family wandering around Provincetown, MA. For those of you not from Massachusetts, it’s the town at the very end of Cape Cod. It’s also the premier gay/lesbian resort haven on the eastern North American coast. Very much so.
It’s a great place to visit, a summer beach tourist trap to the nth degree. Beaches, tons of restaurants, loads of art shops/galleries, boating, a pirate museum, and loads of other interesting things to see. Particularly drag shows featuring Cher and Lady Gaga.
We spent some time on the beach. The hotel behind the beach, geared towards gay men, had some awesome tunes playing at the pool. Stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason. We walked a half mile long jetty to the dunes where there was lighthouse. Stopped at some shops, had some ice cream, bought some fudge and candy at the saltwater taffy shop. Basically your text-book day at the beach side town in the summer. Sort of…
We were heading back thru town when we wandered into the middle of the Tea Dance getting out. (world-famous afternoon dance party at the Boat Slip) About 500 or so big burly men pouring out into the streets. Did I mention it was Bear week in Ptown? I didn’t feel unsafe or threatened or worried for my kids safety, or anything like that. Quite the opposite. It was loud, fun, everyone was laughing, having a grand old-time. But I clearly felt like a minority. It was really strange to feel that way. I don’t get that too often, being the average, ordinary white guy from suburbia. It was not my party and it was obvious. Not that anyone was rude, everyone was very cool.
It stuck with me the feeling of being the odd man out. I’m not homophobic or anything like that, I’m very secure about my sexuality to not feel threatened by someone else’s sexual preference. I wondered if many of these men lived their lives with the feeling I briefly felt in their lives in the world outside of Ptown. It was not so long ago that being gay was not as accepted as it is today. Even still , we as a society still have away to go in being tolerant of our differences, not only in sexual preferences, in many other categories as well. I can’t imagine that feeling if I had felt unsafe or threatened, as many must live with as they deal with prejudices against them.
On top of having a nice day trip with the family, it was a brief moment to see the world in a different way. I think it’s good to look at things from a different perspective whether it’s about the various people we cross paths with, maybe different political positions, maybe even the people we work with. You may not agree or change your mind about something, but I bet you have a better grasp on the challenges we face and how manage them. Changing up your perspective from time to time is a good thing.